For any health emergencies nurses are always the first responders in medical facilities.
Their work is complex, one that exhibits utmost humanity. And in the face of the Corona pandemic, nurses are on the frontline responding to the outbreak first hand. As in every part of the world, in Eritrea, too, nurses are taking the lead in the fight against Corona virus. We dedicate our issue today to nurses worldwide and their efforts by speaking to Mrs. Elilta Abraham, Head of Nursing Human Capacity at the Eritrean Ministry of Health. Mrs. Elilta talked about the role of nurse at the time of COVID-19 with ERITV’s Tesfeldet Mebrahtu.
- Thank you for your time, Mrs. Elilta. Let’s first talk about the general duties of a nurse.
A nurse’s job is all-rounded and nurses are normally the first responders to any health-related cases. We can put nurses’ responsibilities in four major areas. Nurses are first to meet patients in health facilities and secondly they are the ones who directly connect with patients, their families and friends. Thirdly, once patients are admitted, nurses are in charge of caring for them, and, fourthly, nurses give counseling and awareness raising services to patients and other members of the society. The code of ethics nurses operate by calls for their commitment to work for the wellbeing and protection of patients before their own.
- How would you describe the role of nurses in Eritrea?
Professionals in Eritrea go an extra mile to serve the people. Despite the emergencies they routinely respond to daily, nurses work as instructors to newly recruited nurses and teachers in schools. They also communicate with patients and their families providing recommendations and counseling. Furthermore, nurses conduct research and analysis regarding different issues in their work places. They spot problems and look for solutions. Nurses in Eritrea mediate between the medical staff, administration office and the patients. Additionally, we have nurses in administration and managerial posts in numerous health centers nationwide.
- How do nurses operate in cases of contagions?
If that’s the case, as we’re witnessing nowadays with the spread of Corona virus, nurses are on the frontline playing an important role in responding to the pandemic. Globally, nurses are now on the frontline more than ever, risking their own lives to protect the lives of many others. Our job is, of course, critical but it is a moral responsibility we chose to undertake no matter what the circumstances are. Therefore, we stand to serve our communities when they need us most.
- The global community is now fighting the spread of Corona virus and nurses worldwide are showing utmost humanity, tirelessly serving the public. What can you say about the role of nurses during this pandemic?
It is definitely a tough time for the global community. Millions are being infected and hundreds of thousands losing their lives. And more than ever, first responders are at risk as they set out to respond to the influx of patients infected by the virus. We are working day and night away from our families and loved ones. We are assisting our patients in their battle against the virus, but we are also exerting efforts to spread the word about the virus, its symptoms and preventive measures
- The spread of the virus is fast and can easily be transmitted from person to person. Your work environment makes the medical staff vulnerable. Despite this, doctors and nurses are selflessly working amidst the chaos created by the pandemic. How do you cope?
First and foremost if we are to provide safety to our patients we have to first ensure our own. We don’t have to be a medium of transmission. Therefore, we are strictly following the guidelines given to us by the Ministry of Health.
We wear our protective gears and disinfect our surroundings to provide service to our patients in a safe environment. Treatments for patients infected by the virus include constant supervision and care, both physical and emotional. We provide our level best to help them heal physically as well as mentally because we need them to have faith and hope till the very last moment. We also are looking out for people confined in quarantine areas as they might suffer from isolation and loneliness; we stand next to them providing the care and consultation they need.
- It must certainly be hard. Do you feel the pressure?
Of course we do. We are concerned about losing people to the pandemic. We are talking about a life threatening pandemic that is killing many in global terms in a short period of time. And all we think about is how to save lives with what we have. Yes, it is stressful. Yes, we are away from our kids and families. But we have to be there for our patients and their families. It is our duty to ensure the wellbeing of our communities.
- You are risking so much for the public. Do you expect anything in return?
There is no monetary gain we’re expecting in return. After all, we are putting our lives on the line. However, there is one very important thing that we expect from the public. And that is for them to abide by the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health. We need people to stay at home and be serious about social distancing. Carelessness leads to the spread of the virus, eventually endangering lives of friends and families, and it certainly doesn’t make it any easier for health workers. We’re staying at work for you; so, please, stay at home for us.
- Thank you so much, Mrs. Elilta, for the interview and for your service. We appreciate it.